The last live wrestling event I attended was SummerSlam last Sunday, before that it was Wrestlemania 18. Both times, the crowd behaved in a manner that didn't coincide with the angles/storylines at the time. Faces were cheered, heels were booed.
This reminded me of a unique concept that the WWF was trying back in 1997. At the time, Bret Hart and the Hart Foundation were the top heels of the fed, yet were viewed as the biggest faces when in Canada. Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin, and the Patriot were faces in the United States but seen as heels in Canada. The difference here was that all this was fully acknowledged on television. The best example of this was Jerry Lawler constantly siding with the Hart's most of the time, but during the Canadian Stampede PPV, went back to his anti-Hart views.
I was thinking that such a territorial system might actually be effective in terms of booking. This would give angles a legitimate "home field advantage" element to them. Realism definately comes into play here as the average fan could relate it with a professional sports rivalry like the Yankees/Redsox. Wrestler X could be a huge face in one town but a heel in another and the announcers could play up to it when hyping the next PPV.
I can't speak for the rest of the country, but in Western Canada heels & faces are usually heels & faces...unless they're Canadian. For instance, Benoit, Jericho & Lance Storm will always get huge cheers due to their affiliation with the Hart Family. Edge, Christian & Trish get similar cheers, unless they're aligned against one of the aforementioned three. Then, it's based on respect & wrestling ability. Hence, Flair & Foley always get huge cheers. Same with The Rock. And Randy Orton came to Calgary for RAW the night after beating Foley clean at Backlash and got a huge respect cheer.
It's not so much "F*ck you guys, we're cheering who we want". It's more along the lines of "F*ck you guys, we're cheering for who deserves it."
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Slightly off-topic, but wow, Lion, you were at WrestleMania X-8? What was that like, seeing The Rock take on Hogan? That was one of the most memorable events ever, in my book.
Interesting take, by the way, about the method by which Canadians cheer for their favorite wrestlers. How would you say that differentiates from the way Americans do it? (Be nice! LOL...)
(edited by ekedolphin on 19.8.04 0152) “Nobody enjoys a good time more than I do, but this business of yours is as legitimate as a three-legged donkey-- which of course is illegitimate because as we all know, donkeys have four legs.”
--Lance Storm, WWF RAW, 1/21/02
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I know ya didn't ask me, Eke, but I was there too and lemme tell ya, it was something. I've never been a part of any event that seemed as epic as that match, and TV just doesn't translate it. I don't think a single person was sitting down during that match, and while you hear commentators say that all the time as a cliche, I'm being totally serious. It was 68, 000 however many people, no one sitting, hanging on everything they did.
I don't think anyone who ever witnessed it live could possibly forget it. I'll never be able to say I saw Hogan slam Andre live, or saw Bret and Shawn in the Iron-Man Match, or witnessed Foley fly from the top of the Cell or any of the classic moments.
But thank God I saw that.
Hot Virgins-The World's Most Steadily Shrinking Commodity
Agree 100% with HMD, being there for Hogan/Rock was almost surreal. That match in itself made the $125 for bleacher tickets worthwhile.
Anyhow, more to the point of the thread, I've found Toronto cheers for either a.) the better overall act or b.) the WWF guy. Someone pointed out to me at the first TO show I went to (WCW Mayhem 1999) that if you were ever over in the WWF, you're over in Toronto. Sure enough, guys like Curt Hennig were over like crazy. Goldberg got boo'ed out of the building because the crowd loved Sid Vicious. Not even the Canadian factor is an automatic there, as evidenced by Edge getting boo'ed out of the building in his hometown.
This seems to be unique to TO, though. I've also been to TV tapings in Ottawa, London, and Hamilton, and those crowd are very by the numbers. I can only assume it's a result of TO being a longtime wrestling town rather than it being a Canadian city. Keep in mind, NYC, Philadelphia, and Dallas tend to behave similarly at times.
I'll agree with what everyone else has said about X-8 despite the fact I'm an American fan. I made the drive from SW Michigan with the wife and two friends for the show and were awed by how hot the crowd was throughout the entire show. Hogan/Rock was insane but the highlight of the show for us was sitting right next to two Hardy Boys imitators who were dressed EXACTLY like Matt and Jeff and knew their entrance routine perfectly. They spent the entire match posing and were actually crying after the Hardy's lost.
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The WWE has lost something in the neighbourhood of 3 million viewers in the last 18 months or so, including me. That's a hell of a lot of "smarks" who are bored with the crappy product. But hey ... good job WWE guys who are reading!